facebook logoIt seems that changing your status message on Facebook is useful for a lot more than just killing time.

On Saturday, Oct. 17, at 11:49 a.m., Rodney Bradford posted a Facebook status update from his father’s home in the Harlem section of New York City.  He was wondering where his pancakes were, and he left it at that.

According to The New York Times blog, the next day Mr. Bradford was arrested on suspicion of being involved in an armed mugging.  Mr. Bradford was already facing charges in a minor incident, but due to that, combined with the new charges, he could have been facing very serious sentencing.

There was one small problem with the case: the mugging happened at approximately 11:49 AM on Oct. 17th … when Mr. Bradford was updating his Facebook status.

After a court order to verify the location of where the status update was made from, and Facebook verified it came from the area Mr. Bradford claimed to be in.  While his defense lawyer Robert Reuland admitted that anyone that knew Mr. Bradford’s login information could have been the one to enter the status message, but it seemed unlikely considering the location and timing of the update.

The interesting portion of this article was the following passage, and what prompted me to bring this up on the site:

“This is the first case that I’m aware of in which a Facebook update has been used as alibi evidence,” said John Browning, a lawyer and member of the Dallas Bar Association who studies social networking and the law. “We are going to see more of that because of how prevalent social networking has become.”

While we’re not saying you should update your social status on various networks on a continual basis — you know, “just in case” — it does bring up an interesting future defense for people involved in criminal cases.  However, Mr. Reuland’s comment of how it seemed unlikely that someone else could have done this for Mr. Bradford, he also just sank the defense for anyone else in the future.  That will always be the question from now on, but I somehow doubt that this will be the last time we see this come up.

Categories: Facebook, Social Networking   

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